By: Alexis Stallard, Editor-in-Chief
The Biden administration announced plans for a student loan relief program in August and began taking applications in October, but the program is at a standstill after federal courts temporarily blocked the bill on Oct. 21.
The program and its future, though, are being closely watched by Newman students, many of whom would qualify for the loan relief. Some say they’re hoping that the program gets the go-ahead. Others aren’t sure it’s a good idea.
According to a White House press release, the program is aimed at helping low and middle-income borrowers by canceling $10,000 of their debt. The reasoning for this new program is that while college tuition continues to rise, the government’s financial support has not kept up. The program is also intended for middle-class borrowers who deal with the highest monthly payments but don’t qualify for other assistance, like the Pell Grant.
The program, which had received 22 million applications in its first week according to NPR, was blocked by federal courts on Oct. 21. Six states filed a lawsuit against the program saying that it would hurt state-based loan servicers who also manage federal loans. This lawsuit was rejected by the federal courts but the group of states has now filed an appeal, which is why the program is currently on pause.
The effect it has on state-based loan servicers is not the reason that many Americans say they are opposed to the new plan. Those who say they dislike the program worry that the debt would fall on taxpayers, whether they have federal loans or not.
Sam Roy, a junior, said that he feels the program is a bad economic move for the country.
“I think it’s a bad idea because it will put our country in even more debt than necessary,” he said.
Roy said that borrowers who may be in a tough financial position already have several tools at their disposal to help them manage their loans.
“They have financing programs for people who are below the poverty line as well as people who don’t make a six-figure income or anything like that,” Roy said.
Freshman Alysha Keck said that she can see the good that the program is trying to do but worries it may be too hard to find the money to support it.
“I think it would be awesome if it were to happen, but I doubt how it’s supposed to happen,” Keck said. “It would already come out of what we’re already paying in taxes. It would be a good thing, but I feel like it’s not very plausible because it’s hard to fund.”
The federal court overseeing the lawsuit is expected to release its decision to either dismiss the appeal or begin the process of an appeal within the next few weeks. While the program has been halted from relieving any debt, students can still apply for loan relief at studentaid.gov and have their application reviewed for eligibility.
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